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THE ORACLE AND THE IMPIOUS MAN. Jean de La Fontaine

THE ORACLE AND THE IMPIOUS MAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE ORACLE AND THE IMPIOUS MAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

None wish to cozen heaven but the fool;
The mystic labyrinths of the human heart
Lie open to the gods in every part:
All that man does is under their wise rule,
Even things done in darkness are revealed
To those from whom no single act′s concealed.
A Pagan—a vile rogue in grain,
Whose faith in gods, it′s very plain,
Was but to use them as a dictionary,
For consultation wary—
Went once to try Apollo to deceive,
With or without his leave.
"Is what I hold," he said, "alive or no?"
He held a sparrow, you must know,
Prepared to kill it or to let it fly;
To give the god at once the lie.
Apollo saw the plan within his head,
And answered—
"Dead or alive," he said, "produce your sparrow.
Try no more tricks, for I can always foil;
Such stratagems, you see, do but recoil.
I see afar, and far I cast my arrow."

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